Over the last several years, Marine leaders have battled persistent accusations that the Corps is hostile to women. The Marines were the only service to formally request an exception when the Pentagon moved to allow women to serve in all combat jobs. That request was denied in late 2015 by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
More recently, the service was rocked by a nude-photo sharing scandal in which Marines shared sexually explicit photos on various social media and other websites and included crude, derogatory and even violent comments about the women. A task force led by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is looking into the matter.
On Tuesday, Maj. , the Marine Corps’ head of military justice, said that so far 33 Marines have faced some type of punishment or administrative action in connection with the ongoing investigation into the nude-photo sharing. No action was taken against 12 others, and two more have cases pending.
Walters added that separately, five Marine lieutenant colonels have been relieved of duty this year, and two of those cases involved problematic behavior involving women.
A Marine task force has been reviewing a range of options and changes for several months to try and reduce the problems.
Months ago, Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, told Congress that the service has been looking at the recruit training issue. But to date, no major changes have been made.
The nude-photo sharing investigation represents a broader military problem. In a report issued earlier this year, the Pentagon said that nearly 6,200 military members said that sexually explicit photos of them were taken or shared against their will by someone from work, and it made them “uncomfortable, angry or upset.” But, across the services, female Marines made up the largest percentage of women who complained.
More than 22,000 service members said they were upset or angry when someone at work showed or sent them pornography. Again, female Marines represented the highest percentage of complaints from women.